'Bridgerton' Season 3 Will Feature Departure From Books

A new couple will be the talk of the Ton in Bridgerton Season 3. Just weeks after the hit Regency-era drama debuted its second season, Lady Whistledown herself confirmed that Season 3 of the hit Netflix series will mark a departure from Julia Quinn's books and instead focus on Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton.

Actress Nicola Coughlan, who stars as Penelope, aka Lady Whistledown, confirmed the exciting news herself during an appearance at Netflix's FYSee panel on Sunday. Coughlan revealed that "like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time, and I can confirm to you all that Season 3 is Colin and Penelope's love story." The announcement marks a departure from Quinn's book series, on which the Bridgerton series is based. While the first two seasons based their storylines around the first two books in the series - The Duke and I and The Viscount Who Loved Me – Season 3 will not use the third book, An Offer From a Gentleman, as its source material. That book focuses on the romance between Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett, who has not yet appeared in the series. It is the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, that documents Penelope and Colin's romance.

According to Coughlan, however, the decision to jump forward in the series was made a while ago. The actress told fans that she has "kept that secret since two weeks into Season 2. This is the first time I am saying it here." Luke Newton, who stars as Colin, said in a conversation with TUDUM, "there's so much love for that relationship. Which brings its pressures because there are people that are really excited about this story to come to the forefront. But also it really warms me." 

Penelope and Colin have had a budding romance ever since Season 1. The two have a close friendship, which has been hinted could grow into something much more. However, things seemed a little less hopeful by the end of Season 2. In a conversation taken directly from the books, Penelope overheard Colin talking to his friends in the garden. When one suggested Penelope as a possible romantic interest for him, he said he'd "never dream of courting" Pen. 

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The decision to jump ahead in the book series comes amid several shake-ups for the upcoming third season. Jess Brownell is taking over as showrunner for season 3 from creator Chris Van Dussen. It was also confirmed earlier this month that actress Hannah Dodd has been cast as Francesca Bridgerton, a role held by Ruby Stokes throughout the first two seasons, in Season 3. The first two seasons of Bridgerton are available for streaming. Season 3 does not have a premiere date.